American Association of University Women Announces Senior Leadership Team to Advance Equity

WASHINGTON—The American Association of University Women (AAUW) today announced the appointment of a restructured senior management team as AAUW moves forward with a robust strategic planning process to better advance equity for women and girls.

“AAUW has been empowering women since 1881, and our focus on ensuring women and girls can thrive in education, the workplace, and our communities is as relevant and pressing today as it was then,” said Kim Churches, the chief executive officer of AAUW.  “I am pleased to be joined by a group of dynamic and experienced executives committed to our mission of advancing gender equity.”

The senior leadership team includes:

Sheila Amo, chief administrative officer
Amo previously served as the vice president of human resources for AAUW.  She has provided leadership and strategic support in the design, management, and implementation of effective human resource strategies, services, and functions, including ways in which AAUW can attract, retain, motivate, support, and develop employees.

Gloria L. Blackwell, senior vice president of fellowships and programs
Blackwell previously served as AAUW’s vice president of fellowships, grants, and global programs. An AAUW leader for nearly 14 years, Blackwell directs $4 million in global fellowships and grants for women. She is also responsible for designing and implementing initiatives to expand equity for women and girls and broaden their experiences in nontraditional spaces and educational and career settings. She also serves as AAUW’s main representative to the United Nations.

Kendra Davis, senior vice president of advancement and partnerships
Davis most recently served as Refugees International’s (RI) vice president of external relations. She has a demonstrated the ability to create diversified revenue and development plans, an accomplished record of increasing revenue for advocacy organizations, and specialized expertise overseeing programs focused on women’s empowerment at the U.S. State Department, United Way Worldwide, and the League of Women Voters.

Laura Segal, senior vice president of communications and external relations
Segal most recently served as the vice president of public affairs for the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH).  Her previous experience includes working for emerging technology companies, on presidential campaigns, as a cabinet-level speechwriter, and at the White House.

Deborah J. Vaginssenior vice president of public policy and research
Vagins joins AAUW from her most recent role as a chief of staff and principal attorney advisor at the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). Vagins has a long career advocating for civil and women’s rights issues, including serving as the senior legislative counsel at the American Civil Liberties Union Washington Legislative Office, where she was instrumental in passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 and was a co-chair of the Paycheck Fairness Act coalition.

Shannon Wolfe, managing director and chief of staff
Wolfe previously served as the senior director of advancement services at the Brookings Institution where she offered expertise in a variety of operational and fundraising roles. She joins AAUW with a 20-year career in nonprofit organizations.


The American Association of University Women (AAUW) empowers women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. Our nonpartisan, nonprofit organization has more than 170,000 members and supporters across the United States, as well as 1,000 local branches and 800 college and university partners. Since AAUW’s founding in 1881, our members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political. Learn more and join us at